Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul Electric Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

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Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul Electric Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

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Price: $149.00 & FREE Shipping

Of the ninety-one individuals who purchased, used, and volunteered a review of the Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul Electric Guitar, Vintage Sunburst, eighty-four rated this product to be 5-star and the remaining seven rated it as 4-star.

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The Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul Collection Electric Guitar is a GREAT GUITAR for $169.00 (The average selling price at the time of this review). The pickups, tune-o-matic bridge and stop piece are the same ones used in Epiphone’s more expensive guitars, and are similar to what’s used in much more expensive Gibsons. Although the tone adjustments have been simplified to a toggle between the three pickup combinations and an overall tone control for both pickups, this is not as big a deal as many might make of it. Given the vast array of other things that influence electric guitar sound — strings, amp choice and settings, effects pedals and so forth — the guitar sounds great as is.

The finish and general fit and balance of the guitar are great. There was a time when budget guitars screamed cheap and were quite obviously low class in a lot of areas. Those days are past with the Epiphone LP Special II.

All that said, there a few things to remember.

* The guitar comes with very light bendy strings. This is probably due to market data that tells Epiphone that the bulk of buyers for this guitar are teen Guitar Heros who think that string bending every note is an essential aspect of shredding and wailing. If you plan to put heavier strings on the guitar (like 12-51s for example) for jazz or other styles of music then you will probably need a truss rod adjustment to compensate for the added tension. If you don’t know how to do this, ask someone who does. You can ruin a guitar, permanently, by being too aggressive with a truss rod adjustment.

* The guitar has a mahogany neck, but a basswood body. Do not let anyone tell you this is a bad thing. Basswood is a completely acceptable wood for musical instruments. It is not worse or better than mahogany or maple. It is just different. Once again, the differences involved will probably be irrelevant when added into all the other things that players do with amps, strings and pedals to create tone and sound from an electric guitar.

* Epiphone has more than one factory making these guitars. One is in China, the other in is Indonesia. The guitars made by each are very close in every detail, but not exactly, perfectly the same.

* The Chinese examples of the sunburst model that I have seen have a slightly golden-orange tone to the sunburst pattern, more like the traditional sunburst color in American guitars. The Indonesian examples I have seen have a much more over all orange look. Basswood does not have a lot of visible grain. The example guitar shown in the official Epiphone product photos, the photos you see on most web sites like Amazon and Musician’s Friend and so forth, are probably a little optimistic when it comes to visible grain and the golden hued quality of the sunburst finish.

* The Chinese examples I have seen tend to weigh more. One Indonesian model I saw weighed a full pound and half less than the Chinese model right next to it. There is not, unfortunately, any way to tell from the box or from the barcode or SKU number on the box what factory a given example inisde the box came from. The system will deal out whatever is in stock at the moment.

The world is full of guys who will zero in on all the details they find inferior about this guitar by noting the rather obvious fact that this is not a Gibson Les Paul Standard costing $3,000.00. There are some people who will complain that this guitar has a bolt on neck. True, the set necks of the more expensive Epiphones and Gibsons are nicer. But, considering the fact that every Fender Stratocaster ever made had a bolt on neck, is this really a big deal? Would Jimi Hendrix have played “Purple Haze” better if his Strat had a set in neck? Probably not.

The guitar this model is probably closest to, in spirit and purpose, is not the Gibson Les Pauls but, rather, to the old Gibson Melody Maker guitars from the 60s. That said, this is a hell of lot more guitar for the money than any Melody Maker ever was, and adjusted for inflation, relative to what a Melody Maker would have cost you in 1968, for example, it is almost like Epiphone paying you to play it.

People listen to music, not guitars. Music is made by players, not by pickups and electronics. If you’re on a budget, this is an outstanding choice. If you’re not on a budget, it’s still a very good basic instrument. RECOMMENDED.

This is a good guitar with great sound. I also have a gibson Les Paul and i wanted another les paul without having to pay $1000 Dollars. This guitar is the closest guitar out there to an actual les Paul. Great buy great price. Overall, worth every penny I love it.

I have been playing for 18 years i have many guitars. This is one of my favorites

I’ve been playing for over 40 years. I currently own 60 or so guitars. My problem with LP’s is they feel like a boat anchor around your neck, I’ve bought and sold quite a few. Another problem with real LP’s, you only get one chance to drop one, just see how many used ones have head-stock repairs. They ARE beautiful guitars but not comfy for me to play. I deal in used guitars, picked up an Epi Special ll along with several other guitars at a resale shop for very cheap. I didn’t mess with it until I was ready to set it up for resale. I fully expect to do a fret level on most guitars, even a lot of higher end guitars need it. I found on the Special ll the frets were actually very well done (Chinese version from 2011) and only needed a slight leveling (would have played fine without it but I am very picky). It didn’t take much to get it set up, small truss rod adjustment, new set of 10’s for strings. little bit of adjustment to the bridge, cut the nut a bit….note it played well the way I got it, just like my stuff perfect. Got it set-up and plugged it in to check the electronics and that’s when I started to really become impressed with this guitar. Cheap pickups are supposed to sound muddy with no character, these sounded pretty good, actually very good, nice and bright with a nice tight bottom end. I check sound also by cranking up a backing track to stage level and playing a few tracks. It cut through really well. I noticed while doing this test that the volume had a very nice sweep to it and didn’t lose any highs when turned down. The tone knob was also very usable with a good sweep, very nice. I popped off the back cover to check what was in there, full sized pots, maybe not the best quality but much better than expected. I normally upgrade electronics on my personal guitars to get the controls to operate the way I like but no need to fix what’s not broken. Yup, I said “on my personal guitars” because I am keeping this one for myself. The neck is very fast and comfy, it’s NOT a boat anchor so my shoulder will thank me. The tuners are the lower end trapezoid type but turn smoothly with no backlash and keep the guitar in tune fine, once again if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Please note that most tuning problems are from a binding improperly cut nut. I’ve set-up hundreds of guitars and almost all of them need nut work, doesn’t matter what price point you are at. This also has a bolt on neck. A lot of players say you have to have a set (glued) neck. I feel glue actually deadens the sound a bit, I prefer a good solid bolt on to transfer sound, IMO. I have found that the quality level of the low end foreign guitars has become very good. I know that corners have to be cut to get to the price point of these budget guitars but all in all the Special ll is good to go right out of the box with just a little tweaking. My advice is to go try one, my taste may not be the same as yours. There are a lot of good value well made guitars now-a-days, I just found at this price vs quality ratio the Epiphone Special ll really is special. Get one, get it set up for a few bucks if you can’t do it yourself, and you will have a good instrument. Oh did I mention this is a very good looking guitar?
Before I bought this guitar I read allot of reviews, some good some bad. Some people said it’s not great wood and save your money for a better guitar. I am stationed at a FOB in Afghanistan and did not want to spend allot of money on a guitar that will not live in the best of conditions but still be professional enough to keep my interest in practicing while I was away. I thought well for $149 I could afford to do some upgrades later if I liked the guitar or sell it when it is time to leave.
When the box came I pulled it out and gave it a quick look see and was pleasantly surprised. It really is a pretty guitar in Vintage Sunburst. It is thinner and much lighter than a standard Les Paul more along the lines of a Les Paul Junior with two knobs, a selector switch, but with two pickups. The neck was straight and very comfortable, the frets can be smoothed out more but are really fine the way they are and although slightly neck heavy feels great while playing. When I plugged it into a Vox headphone amp (Twin)and some high grade headphones and started adjusting the knobs a huge smile came across my face. This thing growled and spit, or can sound very clean and jazzy. I did do some adjustment for intonation, lowering the strings a bit which made it more responsive to the pickups. I will keep this guitar and play it on stage. Just change the strings immediately to a higher quality set, adjust or have a guitar shop adjust the intonation if you do not know how. The tuners have to go they have slop in them, which are 9mm not 10mm tuner holes so you will need to ream the back of the tuner holes some and put a better set of tuners on the guitar. While you are at it exchange the plastic nut for a graphite nut. You will see a noticeable difference in sustain and staying in tune. However it is a player straight out of the box. For a beginner it can’t be beat, for an intermediate or professional that likes funky guitars, this is a great platform to experiment with or upgrade. It doesn’t sound exactly like a Les Paul but has allot of characteristic’s of one. It has it’s own cool sound. I love this guitar.

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